Ducks looking for billets for this season

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

The Dells Ducks junior hockey team is once again looking for some local support heading into the new season.

Players from across the USA and Canada will once again be in the community beginning in late August in preparation for a mid-September start to the United States Premier Hockey League season.

The Ducks are coming off its most difficult season, partly due to a large core of younger players who gained valuable season and partly due to the strangest season in the 10-year history of the squad as Head Coach Shaun Falzone remained loyal to the players who signed on originally with the squad while many other teams took advantage of Canadian players from the Tier 2 and Major Junior level looking for a place to play in mid-season.

As a result, the Ducks have learned some tough lessons and Coach Falzone has added new and experienced players that will bring size, physical play, and offensive skills to this season’s team.

The players that move to the Sauk County area need to billet with local families and over the past decade, players from previous Ducks players have established family-like relationships with their billet families, many returning to the area to visit on special occasions.

The Morris Family has been involved with the program since it started and have volunteered to billet players in one or two homes almost every season. Pictured above are players from last season while below are players from previous seasons back in town to honor Kelly Morris, the team’s first fan, also last season.

The Ducks are looking for one or two more families to help this season.

The families of the players coming to the areas pay a fee to have their young hockey players move in with the locals and while they are in the area. Hockey players in general are humble and respectful and while in the community, the Ducks coaching staff ensures they are on their best behavior with curfews and random testing in place.

The Wilcox Family is another local family that has helped out the Ducks in recent years

The Ducks organization is thankful for the billets that have helped us out in the past, including at least one family that has been along for the entire 10 years and others who have become a major part of the Ducks family by allowing our players to eat and sleep in their homes.

Penny Lobenstein has become a popular ‘Mom’ to an army of Ducks players over the past few years and has also become one of the team’s biggest fans.

Anyone interested or looking for more information on helping the Ducks as a billet family for the 2021-22 season can contact jim@dellsduckshockey.com; shaun.chitexsports@gmail.com or lakedeltonice@yahoo.com.

More information on the Ducks season, which is now less than two months away, will appear on saukhockey.info soon.

Hockey close to year-round in Wisconsin

By Jim den Hollander

Editor/Publisher

Saukhockey.info

It’s a weird summer with the NHL hockey season wrapping up just a week ago but unbelievably, we’re just over a month away from the early days of a new hockey season. Hopefully, a normal one.

The Dells Ducks players will return to the Sauk County area in mid-August and by the end of the month the ice will be in at the Lake Delton Ice Arena.

A couple hockey teams have already been on the ice this summer – Sauk Prairie Eagles and RWD Cheavers both taking part in an eight-team mid-summer event in Middleton in June and the Cheavers also held the annual getaway to the Superior area where they played some scrimmage games. Both events though are geared primarily to introduce the newer players to the varsity culture.

In Superior the emphasis is on the team bonding and welcoming new players with an annual canoe trip among the highlights of the weekend.

The RWD team will also be taking part in a tournament in Onalaska July 23-25 and this writer is discovering that is not as unusual as first thought. A couple teams, including Beaver Dam and some Madison area teams scrimmage in a summer league and a quick look at the ice schedule for the Beaver Dam Family Ice Center shows a calendar as jammed in July as it would be in January.

Several youth players and varsity players took part on summer teams out of Tomah or the Madison area and competed into July but many of those have hung up the skates for at least a few weeks before eagerly pulling it down again with excitement in September.

RWD senior Trevor Slaght enjoyed the biggest moment of his hockey life so far winning a USA Hockey National Championship as a member of the Before-and-After Wisconsin Junior Jets in the late Spring and the next eager bunch of skaters, from across the state, will take part in the first step towards a repeat when the Jr. Jets holds a tryout at the Ice Pond in Waunakee this weekend.

Janesville 18U Jets celebrate winning the 2021 Chipotle USA Hockey Tier II 18U 3A National Championship in the traditional way.

The Olympics officially start on Friday in Tokyo…late Thursday here, but competitions are underway as early as Tuesday night, if you like soccer or softball. I am pumped about watching as much as I can. By the time its over, hockey season will be upon us.